Judge Rules Injunction Permanent Against Santa Ana's Townsend Street Gang

Categories: Where you from?

Thumbnail image for SAPD_Townsend.jpg
Santa Ana police aren't there to ask for extra sugar to borrow...

Family, friends and community activists washed cars Sunday in SanTana to raise funds for the funeral of Angel Arellano. The 17-year-old had been named in a temporary gang injunction against Townsend Street and police say he was slain by gunfire just inside its safety zone. Rosie Iraheta, Arellano's mother, continued to fight against the injunction appearing in Superior Court last Tuesday despite being weakened by terminal breast cancer.

While people washed the suds off cars and towel-dried them in the parking lot of Mexicanismo Night Club, Judge Franz E. Miller had already made the temporary gang injunction against Townsend Street permanent on Thursday--without anyone involved knowing about it.

More »

Mother of Slain Santa Ana Teen Continues Fight Against Townsend Street Gang Injunction

Photo by...someone! I swear deputy sheriff, it wasn't me!
Iraheta pictured second from left
Rosie Iraheta arrived to Orange County Superior Court yesterday morning for the latest Townsend SanTana gang injunction hearing wearing a shirt with the image her late son Angel Arellano (no relation to our own Arellano). The 17-year-old was named in the injunction before police say he was gunned down just within its boundaries on Christmas Eve, a point Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas used to bolster the injunction's case in the press. He openly wondered that had the injunction and curfew been in effect for him, Arellano might still be alive today.

"I don't want my son's name to be used to push their agenda," Iraheta told the Weekly before the hearing. "I want my son to rest in peace. The gang injunction was imposed on him, not the person that killed him," she added. "I don't think it would have saved his life."

More »

How OC Law Enforcement Locked Up an Innocent 14-Year-Old Boy for Two Years

Bob Aul/OC Weekly

Eyewitness statements can be notoriously unreliable, a fact Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) detective Andy Alvarez knew when he investigated a 2009 attempted-murder case that happened near South Coast Plaza. He'd spent half of his then-14-year career as a California Highway Patrol officer, earned the rank of SAPD sergeant and served as a teacher at a Southern California police academy, as well as an "analytical thinking" instructor for Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) agency.

At the outset, at least, the vicious, attempted murder of three teenagers created the usual mystery for Alvarez: Who were the gun-toting assailants, and why had they committed the bloody crime? The victims--Brian Marin, Carlos Vega and Manuel Ventura--were next to a 1992 Acura Integra when a Jeep loaded with what they described as "Hispanics" approached. A man wearing a red, hooded sweat shirt emerged from the left rear passenger side and demanded to know their gang affiliation by asking, "Where you from?"

More »

Activists to Mobilize Today Against Townsend Gang Injunction in Santa Ana

Thumbnail image for SAPD_Townsend.jpg
Townsend activists want to know: gang injunction, what's your function?
Another round of OC Superior Court hearings are due today in the fight over a new gang injunction in SanTana. In August, Judge Franz E. Miller granted a preliminary injunction against the Townsend street gang that claims the neighborhood around Jerome Park.

The early morning hearing will deal with defendants named as gang members by the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office. Later on in the day, a ruling is expected on whether Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas will get sanctioned for brushing off summons and depositions.

More »

Gang Injunction Didn't Stop Gang Injuncted from Killing Ximena Meza

Categories: Where you from?

Ximena Meza forever R.I.P.
Ricardo Cruz and Alfredo Miguel Aquino stand charged with the October 22 murder of 9-year-old Ximena Meza in Anaheim, caught in the crossfire of a gang-related shooting. Though Cruz and Aquino admitted this summer to being members of a relatively new gang called RAW (Ready at War), court documents obtained by the Weekly show that the murder charges OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas filed against them push forth an interesting claim: that they carried out the shooting as "active participants" of the decades-old Anaheim FOLKS (Family of Latin Kings SureƱos) gang.

Who's FOLKS? Oh, just one of the thirteen OC gangs under one of Rackauckas' infamous gang injunctions, this one dating back to March 2011. Tony Rack and his crew always love to trot out stats claiming that the gang injunctions work, that they're a successful tool against cholo violence. Yet more than three years later, they're now essentially admitting that a gang they targeted with an injunction ended up killing an innocent girl anyway.

More »

More Evidence Of State Cheating Must Block Death Penalty In Seal Beach Salon Case: Lawyer

OC Weekly photo
Judge Goethals gets another stack of fascinating, true-crime reading
Claiming there's ample new evidence that Orange County's law-enforcement community can't be trusted to behave honestly, a defense lawyer for the killer in the 2011 Seal Beach salon massacre is urging a judge to reconsider an August ruling that conceded government cheating, but still left prosecutors' death-penalty demand an option.

Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders told Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals in a Nov. 7 motion that he has uncovered additional efforts by the Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA) and sheriff's deputies to sabotage the defense of Scott Dekraai by hiding evidence and offering dishonest testimony.

Prosecutors insist errors were innocent mistakes and promise retraining, but Sanders says there has been "a systematic and ongoing process of concealing evidence favorable to the defense," practices that have caused him to divert focus on the "litigation at hand" to chase seemingly endless examples of unethical law-enforcement conduct tied to the case.

More »

Ximena Meza: Killed by the System

Gabriel San Roman
R.I.P., Ximena

By Gustavo Arellano and Gabriel San Roman

It's being called another tragic case of gang violence claiming the innocent. Nine-year-old Ximena Meza was playing with her sisters outside their family's apartment near Brookhurst Community Park in Anaheim around 7 p.m. on Oct. 22 when, police say, a white car stopped nearby. A man emerged from the vehicle, shot at a group of men standing on an apartment lawn, then hustled back into the car, which sped off into the night. While the targeted men scurried off, Ximena ran to her father's arms and collapsed, fatally shot in the chest.

More »

Accused Killers of Ximena Meza Violated Probation a Month Ago...Yet Remained Free

Categories: Where you from?

Aquino (left) and Cruz

The memorial for Ximena Meza, the 9-year-old girl murdered last week, keeps growing and growing, as does outrage toward her accused killers, Anaheim resident Alfredo Miguel Aquino and Ricardo Cruz of Buena Park. Well, let the outrage continue: the two cholos were not even supposed to be on the streets hanging out together in the first place.

More »

Is OCDA The True Public Enemy Number One?

Jason Fenstermacher: Drug addict turned Hitler-loving white supremacist turned volunteer assassin turned snitch turned free man now walking OC streets thanks to OCDA

Orange County prosecutors quietly handed white supremacist thug and pre-trial inmate Jason Fenstermacher a spectacular, sweetheart deal in August. It was an unexpected coda to a career in lowbrow crime that began around 2002, when the heroin-addled car thief and burglar needed to toughen his image as a scared, 21-year-old newbie in a California prison.

Back then, Fenstermacher--a San Clemente High School product--burned plastic, trapped the soot, mixed in mouthwash and, using the battery-fueled motor from a dismantled tape player, converted the shaft of a pen into a sharpened tool that ejected ink for a conspicuous neck tattoo: "OCS."

Wearing the Orange County Skins tattoo was reward for Fenstermacher committing assaults and stabbings for the gang, and over the years, he inked his body with other symbols, including a pro-Adolf Hitler swastika and the words Driven by Hate, another less-than-subtle hint about his contempt for non-whites.

More »

OC DA Clears Santa Ana Police for Shooting Unarmed Cholo in the Foot

Categories: Where you from?

Flickr user sneakerphotography

After more than four years, the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office finally got around to clearing a SanTana cop in a May 18, 2010 shooting. The agency found no wrong doing when officer David Jensen shot 21-year-old Yoni Velasquez in the foot after a--you know it!--foot pursuit, leaving a bullet hole in his white Nike kicks.

More »